Mumbai, the city of chaotic symphony, which celebrates the very essence of life, was stunned into silence last evening. The seven blasts that rocked the city were a reminder o the gruesome uncertainty that we live in. The target of fanatic ire this time is the lifeline of Mumbai, the railways, the aortal vein which pumps the system with teeming millions, exploded mercilessly within a short span of 11minutes, dousing a wounded heart in smatterings of blood and tears. The images are still vivid in my mind, the smell of putrid red filling my lungs and the stench of horror embedded in my spirit. Life goes on.
The Mumbaikars tenacity and resilience to get back on his feet even after a morbid disaster, such as this, which speaks volumes of his necessity to be alive as opposed to just exist. His strength and spirit not broken yet, he walks tall with his head held high. He knows he has survived to live another day in order to make the best of this life, a gift to fulfill his destiny. Everything becomes normal.
This is somewhat disturbing to me, the fact that everything becomes normal. The ability to travel by the same railway service barely 12 hours after the bomb blast is a hallmark of Mumbai’s inner consciousness, the determination not to be bogged down by a brazen act of cowardice and return to normalcy would no doubt take nerves of steel, a commendable trait indeed. But is it “normal” for a city, a society to expect and internalize the dreadful fear of losing one’s life as a routine necessity? I watched on the news, a young gent, obviously repulsed by the surrounding happenings, summed up the reality of the matter when he said that the city will be open for business tomorrow, “Bus thode time mein sab thanda hojayega!” Has our explosive past desensitized us collectively as a society? Or is this just an act of machismo, a feeling of falsified bravery, of not being afraid? Maybe, it is purely a necessity to live and survive.
Yes, it is paramount that we remain calm and not react impulsively complicating the situation further more, but the importance of knowing the answers seems to be lost. “Pakistanionay kia hoga…” (Pakistanis might have done it…) is enough for now, to subdue any necessity for further reasoning, a convenient response to hurl their anger and angst at.
Not many would agree, but we have diluted our inherent outrage with time only to be reminded again, a somber resignation to the system and to fate. The people involved in this heinous crime are no doubt a part of a bigger motive of causing harm to Indian economy and inciting communal violence and should be prosecuted, but the past record of comprehensive timely action is demoralizing. When there is a constant deterioration of infrastructure, homeland security, rural economy and governance in general, to expect something substantial seems to be naïve. The effect that it has in the psyche of an individual is disturbing. The thought of our collective destiny, as a cohesive unit, is long banished for singular existence and growth. Although the faith in our innate humanity remains, its competence in betterment of the society in general lacks conviction. The reflection of which can be seen in this engulfing numbness that has seeped into our consciousness.
Martin Luther King once said, “If I knew the world was going to end tomorrow, I would plant a tree.” These words reverberate in my mind as I look outside my window, a in the serene calmness of dawn and watch a small boy accompanied with his mother adjust his overburdened shoulders walk towards his school bus with a smile.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.”